Hello everyone! With Memphis Regionals just around the corner, I am sure many of you are stressing about what to play because, honestly, there are so many viable options. In my testing, it seems that we’ve finally reached a meta where its anyone’s game. Matchups no longer feel like “Rock/ Paper/ Scissors” as we have referred to other metas. This is largely due to how much the game has been forcibly slowed down with the introduction of Shrine of Punishment decks. Players are having to adjust their decks to play the long game and actually be capable of taking six KOs. This is something that we have not seen in the meta since 2011 before GXs even existed.
When Buzzwole/Garbodor/Weavile/Magcargo/Shrine of Punishment a.k.a. BuzzShrine made itself apparent as the deck to beat after Caleb Gedemer’s victory in Philadelphia, I worried that the meta would become extremely polarized leading to multiple BuzzShrine mirror matches. Fortunately, due to the ingenuity of our great community, players have seemed to more so adapt their list and playstyle to dealing with the deck. This has lead to a format in which almost every game is a true test of your ability to plan ahead and properly prioritize resources.
Today, I am going to show you guys the ins and outs of playing the BuzzShrine. The deck still holds the spot as the most feared archetype going into Memphis Regionals and there is a good reason for it. It is the only deck in the meta that can easily beat a player who is not managing their resources properly, and, even when a player is able to successfully manage what cards they play, it still takes wins as an overall powerful and aggressive deck.
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 30
Energy – 8
1 Beast p
The main goal of this deck is to create checkmate scenarios against your opponent with your various attackers. You start the game by pressuring your opponent with your Buzzwole and damage modifiers. To deal with such a threat your opponent is forced to overextend and set up quickly. To set up quickly, each deck shows a weakness, whether it be that it needs to have a lot of Abilities in play or that it needs to play a lot of items.
You should work to establish either the Weavile threat or the Garbodor threat depending on which of these two weaknesses surface. In almost every scenario, your immediate attacker isn’t necessary to lead with because you can rely on Buzzwole’s Sledgehammer to take your first KO. Then, for your next two KOs you can use the Garbodor or Weavile that you have established by now. Magcargo allows you to have almost complete control over the game in this regard because you can create whichever board state you need with its Smooth Over in combination with Oranguru’s Instruct.
Possible Tech Inclusions
This is a really cute tech inclusion that works the best going into an unexpected heavy BuzzShrine meta. It may not be apparent, but when you play a single Enhanced Hammer and Resource Management Oranguru, you become heavily favored in the mirror match. The strategy is to actually deck out the opposing BuzzShrine player. We can achieve this by constantly Guzma’ing up your opponents Magcargo/Diancie/Oranguru. Most lists only play 4 Guzma and 1 Switch, giving them only 5 possible ways to move the Magcargo out of the active position, excluding attaching 3 energy to manually Retreat. Luckily for you, your opponent needs to take 6 Prize cards to win the game, so, assuming that you draw just enough to get Oranguru and Magcargo in play, you can lock your opponent from doing damage.
Enhanced Hammer acts as a way to pressure your opponent’s attackers without actually taking KOs. It also prevents your opponent from actually attacking with their Magcargo stuck in the active position.
Once you see that your opponent has no Guzma left and does not have enough energy left to attack/retreat, just retreat into your own Trubbish and Stomp Off until your opponent decks out. This strategy is surprisingly very consistent and very effective.
As it stands, the 1-1 Weavile line is more of a threat than an actual attacker of the deck. When your opponent sees the Sneasel on your bench and they have multiple Ability-based Pokémon in play, they must deal with it or else they will be forfeiting to a very favorable trade for you. 2-1 Weavile line acts as a way to force a Weavile into play. If your opponent has multiple Abilities in play, then you can easily just bench two Sneasel, guaranteeing that at least one will survive. In some board state scenarios, this may be much more beneficial than having say a Trubbish and Sneasel on bench where obviously the Weavile would be more effective than a Garbodor. It is just another checkmate scenario that you can create with the deck earning its spot as a tech to strongly consider.
This inclusion is one that I highly recommend. Having two Rescue Stretcher gives you the flexibility to consistently stream any attacker that you want. It also allows you to easily recover your Orangurus and Magcargos when your opponent decides to target those instead of your attackers. With two Rescue Stretcher, it becomes very easy to have 4 attacking Garbodors in a single game.
I originally included this card in the deck when I played it at Philadelphia Regionals to combat Weakness Policies in Zoroark-GX variants. Throughout the tournament, this scenario came up very often, and it was extremely useful. Fortunately, Field Blower provides many other uses. In essence, this deck is a Garbodor deck, so being able to force the Items your opponent has in play into the discard pile is rarely a bad thing. Field Blower also acts as another counter Stadium whenever relevant. It is overall an extremely useful card.
pokemon-paradijs.comI played 2 Judge in my BuzzShrine list for League Cups, and I am very glad that I included it. There are so many decks in the current meta that rely on a strong hand going into their 2nd turn. Examples of these decks would be Vikavolt/Rayquaza-GX or any Zoroark-GX variant. The difference between losing and winning in these matchups often comes down to finding the Judge early or reliably using Smooth Over+Instruct into the Judge without it being prized.
Counter Energy provides an extremely powerful avenue for high damage output when your opponent is in the lead or tries to outplay your board state. Imagine a game where your opponent is at 4 Prize cards and you are at 6 going into your turn. Obviously, here we want to go for a Sledgehammer KO on one of our opponent’s GX pokemon to tie up the prize count while simultaneously setting up another attacker. Our opponent, being the highly skilled opponent that he is, decides that instead of just killing the Buzzwole in the active position, he is going to Guzma up our bench threat to both get out of the Sledgehammer turn and eliminate our only other threat.
This is the scenario where Counter Energy shines. We can easily respond and punish our opponent for making this play by being able to use Swing Around for high damage and once again benching the pokemon we need as a backup attacker. As you play this deck, you will find that this scenario comes up repeatedly, and it consistently will give you just enough pressure to win your games. I highly recommend adding Counter Energy to your list.
This is a very strong inclusion to the deck that serves multiple purposes. I first added it to the deck to be a way to take the advantage in the mirror. You can play the game by not playing any Items at all and allowing your opponent to take the first two KOs. You dedicate all of your time and resources to getting to a board state with a Magcargo, a Buzzwole, and a Garbodor. Once your opponent takes the two KOs you then can take two easy return KOs with Sledgehammer, making the prize count 4 to 4. Since you have not played any Items, then your opponent will not be able to kill your Buzzwole as it takes a guaranteed two prizes. Your opponent will then respond with a Sledgehammer KO of their own, and this is where you simply attach a Double Colorless Energy to your Garbodor and Acid Spray your opponent’s Pokémon. Since you have played at max 2 Items at this point, there is nothing your opponent can do to respond to this Garbodor. You will easily go up in prizes from this point and win the game.
Double Colorless Energy also allows you to now attack with Oranguru which can situationally be very useful. In a Shrine deck, Oranguru’s damage potential is quite impressive. On this same note, you can more easily attack with Magcargo in the very few scenarios where that becomes relevant as well as Trubbish.
Lastly, Double Colorless energy acts as a Pseudo-Switch when you are up on attachments and do not need one for the turn. Everything except Garbodor and Magcargo have 2 retreat or less and DCE does just the trick.
This section is going to be more so me convincing you why not to play 3 Shrine of Punishment, but if you feel like it is a must for your style of play, then playing 3 is a fine inclusion. I hate that these decks are labeled as “Shrine” decks because Shrine of Punishment is really just a supplement to the damage you do and is no way fundamental to the deck. Magcargo, in my eyes, is truly what is fundamental to the deck. You should think of Shrine as a Stadium version of a Plus Power because often time that is how it is played.
Other than that, when we start to look at specific matchups, we find that the matchups where Shrine is extremely important—like the Rayquaza-GX matchup—our opponents do not play any counter Stadium cards at all. So playing multiple copies of the card is pointless since all we will ever need is one. Any more than that just clogs up our hand as unplayable cards. In almost every other matchup, your opponent themselves play little to no GX pokemon so Shrine is not very relevant anyway. The biggest exception to this rule is the Zoroark-GX matchups. The ideology here is that often the opposing Zoroark-GX player will play multiple copies of Devoured Field (3+). These high counts in combination with the draw power given by Zoroark-GX’s Trade makes it a very uphill battle to try to keep Shrine of Punishment in play. We should just forfeit this battle in favor of other more valuable, less counterable cards for the matchup.
Pokémon – 17
1 Dance p
Trainers – 33
Energy – 10
1 Beast p
This is the list that my good friend and roommate Ahmad Ahkrass played at Frankfurt Regionals. While he was misfortuned with unfamiliar matchups and bad variance, his list is extremely powerful. It is built to really have a strong chance against any kind of meta. If you are unsure about the field you are going into, then I strongly recommend giving this 60 a try.
Tips and Tricks
Generally speaking, it is very important to get a Slugma down on your first turn over everything else. Make sure you have at least some kind of attacker in play with the necessary energy to use its attack, but after that go for the Magcargo.
Instead of using Smooth Over to grab the actual Pokémon you need for the following turn, grab an Ultra Ball. This allows you to make changes on what you get based on what your Prize cards are as well as remove cards from your hand so you can use the Smooth Over+Instruct combo again the next turn.
Oftentimes, when you have Magcargo and Oranguru in play, the 4 cards you get from Judge will be more playable than the 6 cards you get from Cynthia. Judge gives you a much better chance of being able to use the combo with the added benefit of disrupting your opponent.
When you are unsure what to grab off of a Magcargo’s Smooth Over because your board is already where it needs to be, it is never a bad idea to grab an Acro Bike. This allows for guaranteed access to your next turn Smooth Over when you have more information on what you need.
Instead of attaching that Rainbow Energy to your Sneasel to set up a Weavile for the turn following turn after Sledgehammer turn, attach a 2nd energy to the Buzzwole that you are attacking with. This creates a 2nd high damage target and baits your opponent into focusing on your Buzzwole instead of your Sneasel. If they choose to kill the Sneasel then you get to go right into a 3 energy Swing Around. Since Sneasel and Trubbish both only take 1 energy to attack, you don’t necessarily need to attach to them until the turn you attack with them.
A lot of people do not realize this, but having two Magcargos in play is insanely powerful especially going into the last three prizes of the game. With two Magcargo and an Oranguru in play, you can easily set up your turns by controlling what you top deck and what you get off of Oranguru giving you complete control of the game. Give it a try next time you pilot the deck.
Mirror 50/50 (w/ Guru tech 80/20)
If you have decided to play Oranguru and Enhanced Hammer:
If you have decided to play Double Colorless Energy:
See Possible Tech Inclusions: 1 Double Colorless Energy.
If you are brave and have decided to play neither, then I recommend attempting to take the first Prize card and keep your lead. Setting up two Magcargo makes it very easy for you to consistently find the pieces you need. You also need to be cautious of the various techs your opponent could be playing for the matchup and try to play around them.
This matchup is extremely luck-based in my opinion. It is all about who is able to take the first Prize card, and, honestly, either player has plenty of outs to doing so. As the Buzzwole player, you can take the first Prize card through Trashalanching essentially any Pokémon in their deck given its psychic weakness. You can also Sledgehammer an inkay with a beast energy for an easy KO. If they have Malamars in play, Weavile also does a great job of doing a lot of damage quickly. After the first prize is taken, the game will just be a constant back and forth of 1HKOs. You have your Magcargo to help you consistently set up the attackers that you need, and they have their Malamars to stream energies on the attackers that they draw.
You can break this loop by getting a jump on your opponent and Trashalanching your opponents Malamars and Inkays with repeated Guzmas. If you can pull this off, they will eventually whiff an attack and you will secure the game. Your opponent also has tricks up their sleeves such as Shining Lugia. To deal with this, just Guzma around it until the Sledgehammer turn, then, use Sledgehammer with a Beast Energy to 1HKO their Shining Lugia. Plays like this can easily swing the tempo into your favor. Be weary of the fact that a Malamar can actually 1HKO a Garbodor due to its Psychic weakness, so do not think you are safe against a board of only Malamars.
A big advantage you have is if your opponent happens to be forced to play a Tapu Lele-GX to continue to set up or they happen to start one of their GX pokemon. If this happens then you are instantly heavily favored just because of the extra Prize card this GX provides. Look for these opportunities and punish your opponent.
This is a very fun, meta-defining matchup. You are slightly favored given the natural pressure you as a fighting deck oppose on a fighting weak deck. If you can take two Prize cards before the Sledgehammer turn occurs then you are almost guaranteed to win the game. Zoroark-GX/ Lycanroc-GX has a lot of outplay potential with Weakness Policy and Blood Thirsty Eyes. If you stumble to set up, they can dismantle your board state by repeatedly killing your Magcargos/Trubbishes/Sneasels.
As the Zoroark player, they have to really decide whether they are not going to play items or not going to play abilities and prioritize killing the respective attacker on your side of the board. Try to create checkmate scenarios where if your opponent decides to kill the sneasel, then they will be met with a Buzzwole Swing Around, or bench two trubbishes at once so you get a guaranteed Trashalanche. Do not waste your Field Blower in this matchup because your opponent can easily just sweep you with a Weakness Policy Zoroark-GX. Try not to over bench and really hold off on playing things like Diancie * because you do not want to be stuck under Sudowoodo lock with a Diancie on your board. Stick to the fundamentals of the deck and outplay your opponent and you should be able to take the set every time.
This is a matchup that is often in your favor but is also often quite challenging. The problem this deck faces against BuzzShrine is that they really cannot avoid benching at least 1 GX Pokémon in a game even if they play multiple non GX attackers in their list. This means that as long as you are able to trade KOs with them then you should always win. Eventually you will kill the GX especially with a Shrine of Punishment in play. Rayquaza-GX/ Vikavolt , however, is normally an extremely fast deck that can easily 1HKO any pokemon you have in play by the 2nd turn. This means that if you stumble to set up, they can kill your Slugmas/Magcargos and you will just whiff attacks.
You can combat this by having an early threat they must deal with like a two energy Buzzwole or a Weavile. When you start the game and both of your board states begin to develop, map out the 6 Prize cards that you will take and take them. You have Magcargo to control your top decks and pretty high damage output between Shrine of Punishment, Weavile, and Sledgehammer with a Choice Band. With decent draws this should be an easy matchup.
Sylveon-GX 35/65 (w/ Guru tech 70/30)
This matchup is honestly pretty bad if you do not play Oranguru. Most of your energy are special energy and you do not have an attacker with a high base damage output. These are all the things that Sylveon is able to capitalize against. Your best bet is to just consistently pressure them with Sledgehammer and Judge and hope they eventually cannot respond. Once that happens you can attach a Beast Energy along with a Professor Kukui to take a KO. If the cards fall in the right way, the opposing Sylveon player will have to play too many items to keep up with your pressure, and then you can just Trashalanche for your remaining prizes.
If you have Oranguru, then your gameplan actually does not change. The only difference is that right before you run out of energy, you just switch/ Guzma into an Oranguru and start throwing energy back into the deck. Your opponent will likely try to KO the Oranguru, and so you just go right back into pressuring them with Sledgehammers and the like. Eventually, they will have to play enough items to where Garbodor will 1HKO them or they will fall under the repeated Sledgehammer pressure. Well-timed Resource Managements allow you to do this infinitely.
Thank you guys so much for reading through this longer article about the current BDIF. There is a lot of thought that goes into each of the 60 cards that my testing groups and I put into these decks. I hope you gained a lot of insight into the deck and have a deeper understanding of certain card counts and matchups. This deck is currently at the top of my list of decks to play going into Memphis Regionals. The only thing that makes me slightly hesitant is the huge target that this deck carries around with it, being the winner of the previous U.S. Regionals. Despite this, the deck has answers to everything in the format and counter play to any tech you may come across. Until next time, good luck at Memphis Regionals and good luck at any future tournament you attend!
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